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Over the last two decades a series of large ring laser gyroscopes have been built having an unparalleled scale factor. These upscaled devices have improved the sensitivity and stability for rotation rate measurements by six orders of magnitude when compared to previous commercial developments. This progress has made possible entirely new applications of ring laser gyroscopes in the fields of geophysics, geodesy, and seismology. Ring lasers are currently the only viable measurement technology, which is directly referenced to the instantaneous rotation axis of the Earth. The sensor technology is rapidly developing. This is evidenced by the first experimentally viable proposals to make terrestrial tests of general relativistic effects such as the frame dragging of the rotating Earth.


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